In over 40 years of reading nautical fiction, I can honestly say this book is the worst by a comfortable margin. The only positive observation I can make is that Mahon has made a passable attempt to integrate his plot into the Hornblower canon. However, his characterization of Hornblower and Maria are so far removed from Forester's as to be virtually unrecognisable.
I could ramble on at length about the many failings of this book, but life is too short: The Jamaican Affair Of 1805 is a poor example of the genre, poorly conceived and poorly written with no attempt to create any sense of period either in speech or actions. Mahon demonstrates little understanding of the Georgian Royal Navy, nor of the essence of Hornblower, despite claiming to be a long time fan.
I cannot conceive what was in the minds of Forester's descendants to allow this travesty to proceed, let alone publish it (eNet Press is a company set up last year by Forester's sons). The most annoying thing for me is that it will sell simply because of the Hornblower name, yet there are authors currently writing superb nautical fiction (Alaric Bond, JD Davies, Linda Collison, Susan Keogh etc) who struggle to find proper recognition.
Description of: The Jamaican Affair of 1805
Author: John Mahon